Five Very Different Detectives

Detective fiction is a genre which I have always enjoyed.  I loved reading things like the Famous Five and Secret Seven series when I was quite small, and progressed quite naturally onto Arthur Conan Doyle’s marvellous Sherlock Holmes stories.  Of late, I have come across some incredibly interesting – and not at all cliched – detectives, and thought that I would make a little post about them.

1. Oscar Wilde (The Oscar Wilde Mystery series by Gyles Brandreth; the first book is Oscar Wilde and the Candlelight Murders)
Wilde is a most interesting choice of detective, and he is rendered incredibly well by Brandreth.  He comes across as a realistic and rather noble figure in Brandreth’s fiction, and much research has been put into his mannerisms and turns of phrase.

2. Flavia de Luce (The Flavia de Luce series by Alan Bradley; the first book is The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie)
Flavia de Luce is untypical in the sense that she is only almost-eleven years old when the series begins.  She is obsessed with chemistry and busies herself with solving the mysteries which begin to occur around the small village in which she lives.

3. Daphne du Maurier (The du Maurier Mystery series by Joanna Challis; the first book is Murder on the Cliffs)
Daphne du Maurier makes a fascinating and rather level-headed solver of mysteries.  She continually talks about how the deaths which she involves herself within can provide inspiration for her work.  She comes across as an intelligent and shrewd character; much like a far younger Miss Marple in some ways.

4. Cordelia Gray (The Cordelia Gray Mysteries by P.D. James; the first book is An Unsuitable Job for a Woman)
Contrary to those around her, who believe that a woman’s place should not be embroiled in mysteries for a living, the very proper Cordelia Gray inherits a detective agency and is thrilled by the challenge.  As with Daphne du Maurier, Gray is an intelligent character who continually reasserts the facts throughout the books in which she appears.

5. Christopher (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon)
Fifteen-year-old Christopher Boone is perhaps an obvious choice for a ‘different’ detective, but he is one of the best.  Christopher has Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism.  “He knows a very great deal about maths and very little about human beings. He loves lists, patterns and the truth. He hates the colours yellow and brown and being touched. He has never gone further than the end of the road on his own, but when he finds a neighbour’s dog murdered he sets out on a terrifying journey which will turn his whole world upside down.”

Which are your favourite ‘different’ detectives?

7 thoughts on “Five Very Different Detectives

  1. I recently read The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde and I’d definitely add Thursday Next on the list detectives that are very different. She solves literary crimes and manages to stay very level-headed even in the strangest situations.

  2. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is on my TBR! After reading this, I’m looking forward to reading it very much.

  3. My fave unusual detectives? Christopher – as in your number 5, Mma Precious Ramotswe from The First Ladies Detective Agency, and Dr. Siri Paibourn, from Colin Cotterill’s wonderful detective series set in Laos…..

  4. I didn’t know there were DuMaurier stories. I’m anxious to read the ones with Josephine Tey as a character, not author. And, although they were shamelessly bad writing, I did enjoy the Eleanor Roosevelt mysteries. Escapism. There are also two new YA takes on Sherlock Holmes–Lock and Mori and Study in Charlotte. Both are good. I reviewed them last year.

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